It’s officially fall in Michigan! Did you know that the first day of autumn/fall is also falls prevention day? 1 in 4 people age 65+ in America fall each year, which can result in health complications, hospitalizations, and even deaths. Although it’s common, falling is NOT an inevitable part of aging.
Why do so many people fall?
- Medical conditions
- Foot pain
- Poor eyesight
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Medication side effects
- Some medications can cause drowsiness or dizziness (e.g., antihistamines, antidepressants, etc.)
- Environmental conditions
- Not having a clear path in the home (e.g., furniture in the way, clutter)
- Indoor rugs
- Icy or broken steps
- Lack of appropriate lighting
What can we do?
- Pay attention when visiting older loved ones- are there trip hazards? Is the furniture packed too close together leaving little room to maneuver? Do they need a grab bar installed?
- Make sure to stay up to date with eye checkups and physicals
- Stay active, whether that means walking or taking a class like Tai Chi that improves balance
- Check your fall risk by taking the National Council on Aging’s Falls Free Checkup
- Take a fall prevention class. The Area Agency on Aging 1-b offers a class called Matter of Balance free of cost!
- Both the AARP and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have checklists to help fall-proof your home.